Monday, December 6, 2010

Cues

Today's WOD:

30 muscle-ups for time

Substitute: 120 pull-ups and 120 ring dips

My time: 21:25. It actually wasn't that bad! Did them in alternating sets of 10. No rips, just one small blister on my left hand. Did 50 of the ring dips with the green band and the rest with the blue band. I really tried to relax on the pull-ups, and that plus the frequent switching to dips helped me get through them without burning out. For a difficult workout, it was surprisingly not stressful. I felt very relaxed throughout.

Cues

Something I've been working on lately is trying to use specific cues to deal with anxiety that inhibits my ability to do difficult physical tasks. For example, in today's workout, I thought about relaxing my face muscles when I started getting tired from the pull-ups, and that helped me relax overall and do the motion more smoothly and string them together better.

Yesterday I went snowboarding, and I tend to get nervous about falling and then tense up and go into a bad position (which makes me fall). If I can stay relaxed, I keep a better position with my hips forward and have better balance and movements. The cue I used yesterday was my hands. I kept checking whether they were at my sides and relaxed (no fists, not stretched out ready to catch myself). When they were, I was relaxed, and everything came together well. As soon as I felt off-balance and anxious, I looked, and sure enough, there my hands were, out in front of me.

A cue I've used in weightlifting is thinking about using my legs instead of my arms for overhead lifts (snatch and jerk). By focusing on a muscle group that is farther from the final position of the bar, I can break out of my head a bit and move faster and more efficiently. It really helped with getting my PR jerk last week, because I wasn't worried about the heavy weight falling on my head when I was thinking about muscles that were far away from the bar.

Using a single cue has proven really effective for me. It initiates a cascade of physical changes that allows me to perform better. Plus it helps me to break out of mental blocks and to have more fun and less anxiety.

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